tv John King USA CNN January 3, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EST
hour for our nonstop coverage of the iowa caucuses. until then, thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." the news continues next on cnn. good evening, from the cnn election center, it's nearly zero hour in iowa the kick-off point for the 2012 election. that's right they start voting tonight. all eyes are on mitt romney. an iowa within is within reach and would make romney the prohibitive front-runner. win or lose his rivals are sharpening their attacks. among themming rick perry who says south carolina voters won't buy a pig in a poke. the texas governor among our special guests. plus, dramatic pictures a warning to any would-be firebugs. look up before you light up. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com under two hours from the start of iowa's presidential caucuses. a vote to shrink the field and
perhaps give us a front-runner. mitt romney predicting, quote, we're going win this but his opponents are promising the governor will have a much harder time after tonight. this afternoon the former house speaker newt gingrich told reporters his ads will start drawing, quote, a sharper, clearer contrast with governor romney and on cbs this morning, the former speaker, remember, he's the candidate who keeps promising to stay positive, well, gingrich called romney a liar. >> are you calling mitt romney a liar? >> yes. >> why are you saying he's a lier? >> this is a man whose staff created the pac, his millionaire friends fund the pac. he pretens he has nothing to do with the pac. it's balogna, he's not telling the american people the truth. it's like a pretense he's a conservative. >> governor romney's laughing off gingrich's attempt to be more aggressive. >> i understand the speaker apparently's angry and i wish him well, he and calista. hopefully we'll be able to
connect with the american people in the way to get the support that we need. >> cnn chief political correspondent candy crowley spoke with governor romney today. she's live in des moines. has to be a great sense of anticipation but anxiety as governor romney sees an iowa win within reach, but remembers four years ago. >> reporter: absolutely. when he's spent $10 million, only to come in a distant third to mike huckabee. yeah, they are a little burn by this but i have to tell you, it is palpable within the romney campaign that they feel very good about tonight. the governor himself, i had a chance to peek to just as he was briefly going through the rope line after his speech this morning, and you know, even he doesn't want to jinx it. he says a feel good, i think we'll do, i think we'll be in the top three. of course anyone who read the "the des moines register" poll would probably think that. they're looking for a good night. would they love a number one, they would. that's why, john, you are
hearing mitt romney kind of brush off newt gingrich. you don't want to tangle right now. you want to stay upbeat and positive, and do some of that, the speeches, with the sort of high flying rhetoric, which is what he did today. >> and to that point, candy, governor romney has focused on president obama, not republican rivals in the closing hours. he also brought his sons out to stup f stuch for him today. >> rather than paying someone to build a fence he decided to work with his five sons and his wife and he was going to build a fence on his own. >> my dad is extraordinarily cheap. he is as cheap a human being as you've ever met member could have afforded to have someone else come in and build that fence but he wanted to do it himself. >> explain to me why they think my dad's cheap, candy, is a good closing message in the campaign. >> reporter: that's right. because what's been the wrap on mitt romney, he's too distant, aloof, he doesn't have one of the story lines people like to
tell about their childhood, how they understand the pain of america. this is about putting the flesh on mitt romney that some people say he looks like an executive but he doesn't look like he cares. that's what the family does, that's what wives do, that's what sons do. that's what the campaign has been for the last couple of weeks and he has been out with his family. for mitt romney the message is, make no mistake. for the family it's to humanize the guy as they move teefeerds. he's flesh and bones and that's what this is about out here. >> candy crowley, at the mitt romney headquarters, second time around for governor romney. hopes iowa makes him the front-runner. ron paul's campaign, well, launched its strongest attack so far against governor romney. listen to this. part of a one-minute radio ad. >> romney's record is liberal. and putting him up against obama is a recipe for defeat.
that candidate who can beat obama is dr. ron paul. >> cnn's dana bash covering poll campaign. at the last hours to go after governor romney they think they need to peel a little bit from him, if congressman paul is to get what he wants tonight, the prize in iowa. >> reporter: that's right. this is a little bit of a surprise that they're running this last-minute radio ad. not a surprise what the message is, using the "l" word like they did yesterday when n. an interview with rick santorum. those are the two threats that ron paul believes he has tonight. remember four years ago, john, ron paul finished a distant fifth with 10% of the vote. and the expectations were incredibly low last time around. this time very, very different. he has been doing incredibly well in the polls. and that means that the expectations are quite high. his campaign is saying, very similar things to what mitt romney's saying, which is that he hopes to finish in the top three. but look, the question is whether or not what has become
lore here, the organization that he has and building for four years whether that will kick in and do well, even better than third. >> ron paul has an older libertarian base but he's depending on younger voters. he doesn't strike me as an "american idol" fan but one former "idol" winner is a fan and ron paul's looking to make the most of it. >> i'm wondering, does anybody know the name kelly clarkson? recently, recently, she endorsed me a couple of weeks ago and something happened because i had to admit, i didn't know a whole lot about her. >> even the pictures, dana, fascinating. the oldest candidate in the republican field, college students behind him, how important are the new, younger voters to the paul recipe for success tonight? >> reporter: incredibly important. i was at that event today. the other two candidates, michele bachmann and rick santorum got good responses but
nothing like the 76-year-old candidate from young voters, first-time caucus voters new york question those are the people that the paul campaign are relying on to actually not just say we like ron paul but get out and vote for him. one other interesting thing that i found in talking to young voters there, something you have found in traveling the country and talking to people, they like ron paul because they feel that he is authentic. they're annoyed with the politicians, with the government in general and think that ron paul actually says what he means and does what he says and that's something we don't see a lot in politics anymore. >> dana bash, a big night tonight for her. one reason christian conservatives like the former senator rick santorum is for the same reason. santorum downplaying his expectations tonight "the des moines register" poll showed him shooting up in the last few days. santorum said it would be great to crack the top three. his last-minute stops trying to convince undecided voters he's the best choice to take on president obama come november. >> every decision that's going
to be made here in the next few years, whether obama care is repealed or whether it's kept in place, whether taxes are going to grow, whether this deficit that is now crushing the economy and will crush your pocketbooks in the future is going to be dealt with so you won't have a loyer standard of living, it's your future. >> ron paul, mitt romney, rick santorum, they were the top three in the final iowa poll but that doesn't guarantee they'll end the night the big winners. gloria borger here with me for a closer look at different paths to victory in iowa. this is the 2008 map. governor romney did well here. cedar rapids, davenport, dubuque, the cities in iowa, not very big. he did well here, the huge test tonight. a conservative part of the state. team romney says this, they want high turnout, higher than 118,000 last time, more women, more senior citizens, fewer evangelical voters from a percentage standpoint. they believe that gets them victory tonight, why? >> well, because that -- those voters, the evangelicals, would
help rick santorum and they don't want that kind of a turnout. women do very well with mitt romney. they like him. and they don't want the sort of ideological purists if you will. those are not his people. his people are that sort of solid 25% that have liked him all along, they believe he's electable and they want those people to come to the polls tonight. . they don't want those -- >> they don't want this. >> they don't want younger voters that ron paul might bring. they just want their dependable mitt romney voters to come out. >> this is the evangelical base of mike huckabee four years ago. come forward 2012. here are the colors. watch this. this will fill in live as results come in. here, interesting questions. we have the evangelical voters. the darker the area on the map, the higher the percentage of evangelical voters. if you talk to people in the santorum campaign, they say they'll go into the caucuses look to perry people in the eye,
look bachmann people in the eye and say your candidate can't win, you have to support us to have a conservative voice in the election. what perry hopes bachmann and perry add up to 18 that blocks santorum from winning. evangelicals? >> if evangelicals divide, romney conquers, that's what it is. romney doesn't want the evangelical voters to turn and say, you know what? we kind of like rick santorum now, we think we're going to unify behind a candidate. that's what happened with mike huckabee in 2008 and that was what gave huckabee the huge percentage, 45% of them. he really needs evangelicals to split. >> we'll show you later in the show. we'll break down the tea party vote in iowa. evangelicals big in 2008. the tea party, a new element in 2012. still ahead, it wasn't long ago he was in the lead. now he's on the sidelines. we'll ask herman cain his choice among the remaining candidates. despite his stullables in
iowa, rick perry has plenty of fight left. governor perry joins is next with a preview of the tough message he's bringing to south carolina. >> mitt romney has got a real problem when it comes to consistency. those folks in south carolina, i can promise you, they're not going to buy a pig in a poke. >> plenty more to come. setting the stage for cnn's specialage coverage, america's choice for 2012. iowa caucuses. why did we build a 556 horsepower luxury car with a manual transmission? because there are those who still believe in the power of a firm handshake.
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running for president can be a humbling experience. just ask rick perry. the texas governor was the summer surge candidate in the gop field but a few big debate gaffes changed everything, forcing perry on late-night tv in hopes of winning a second or a third chance. >> listen, you try concentrating with mitt romney smiling at you, that is one handsome dude. >> perry campaign has bought the most iowa tv ads, yet the final polls show governor perry running fifth among the six candidates contesting iowa. before spending time with us today, perry asked his final iowa crowds to consider the 2012 stakes.
>> this election is about stopping a president of the united states and his administration that is abusing the constitution of this country, that is putting america on a track to bankruptcy and, folks, we are going to take america back. that's what this is. >> governor perry, appreciate your time an an important, busy day. you've never lost an election. if you look at numbers, things look bleak tonight. what happened? >> well, let's wait until tomorrow before we say whether anything looks bleak or not. there's 40% of the people still out there haven't made their decision and i've got over 500 plus people that have come over 32 states to work the phone banks and caucus for us tonight. i feel pretty confident that we're going to come out of iowa with some good momentum and head on to the other states and this things a long way from being over. so it's a marathon, it's not a sprint. >> senator santorum has surged in recent days. his folks are going into
caucuses tonight, sir somewhere look the bachmann people in the eye, look the perry people in the eye and say they're good candidate but was we need a single concern emerge from iowa as alternative to mitt romney. how do you counter that? >> i agree with that analysis, it's correct, and i'm the only person who has the ability to raise the money nationally and has the ground keep in these other states to do that. that is an absolute correct analysis, but it's not rick santorum. frankly, rick's going to have a real problem when he leaves and people start vetting his background from a fiscal conservative standpoint. this guy's the king of earmarks and pork barrel spending, the liaison between washington and k street. he's got real bags that he's going to have to explain to people and that's in going to be a problem for him. >> if you wake up tomorrow morning and see governor perry in a disappointing fourth or fifth, any point where you say, that's a message we're going home, or are you going to south carolina regardless? >> i'm headed to south carolina.
the plane will be warmed up in the morning and we'll be headed to aikens, south carolina, to continue on. i mean the idea that one or two states is going to decide who the next nominee for the republican party is, is just, you know, that's not reality. this is a 50-state campaign and it's about the future of america and i think americans are ready for an outside who are will go to washington, d.c. and overhaul the place and an executive who has the governing experience of 11 years of running the 13th largest economy in the world and doing in a way that has made texas the number one job creation state in the america. that's what americans are pining for. someone who will get washington off of their back, out of their pockets and allow entrepreneurs to have the freedom to risk capital and create jobs. and i'm it. >> governor romney comes out of iowa with a win or strong second and wins new hampshire, how do you stop him in south carolina? >> i think you go and share with the people of south carolina the
real message of who has the consistency and is an authentic conservative. mitt romney has got a real problem when it comes to consistency. those folks in south carolina, i can promise you, they're not going to buy a pig in a poke, so to speak, and a massachusetts governor that put individual mandates in place that obama took as the model to create obama care is not going to sell in south carolina. >> do you worry at all, sir, you'll have a repeat of 2008? huckabee, a christian conservative candidate, wins the state of iowa. john mccain comes back and wins the state of new hampshire and south carolina, fred thompson stayed in the race. mccain ekes out a victory. if you look through the data, and i've scrubbed it for years, if fred thompson doesn't stay in, huckabee wins south carolina, you have a different race in 2008. are you worried that if a perry, a bachmann, a santorum, and others stay in the race that you're essentially spoilers on the right and you'll allow romney to sneak through? >> i think this election, and
you'll probably agree with this, john, is so different than any election that you've ever seen in the past that to try to go back and make some comparables between an '08 or '04 or 2000 election with what's going on now is an interesting exercise. this election is far from decided. and today won't decide it, i will suggest to you. south carolina will come near giving us a better clue who's going to be the republican nominee. you know we're going to work hard the rest of date here and expect to have a good showing. >> i couldn't agree more, one of the big things we'll look for how din is this republican party from the republican party four years ago, how do the evangelicals break, how do the tea parties break. best of luck in the final hours in iowa and see you on the road ahead in south carolina. >> thank you. godspeed. >> herman cain also among our special guests this hour, as we count down the minutes until iowans vote. we asked mr. cain if he's ready to make an endorsement and
whether mitt romney can sew up the nomination with wins in iowa and new hampshire. >> i don't think it's a done deal he'll be the presumptive leader and he would have momentum necessary to get it. next, new developments after a string of five molotov cocktail attacks in the new york area. nyquil:what? tissue box (whispering): he said nasal congestion... nyquil: i heard him. anncr vo: tylenol cold multi-symptom nighttime relieves nasal congestion... nyquil cold & flu doesn't. [ male announcer ] why do we grow quaker oats? because there are mountains to climb. ♪ dreams to be realized. ♪ new worlds to be explored and hearts to be won. quaker oats. energy to get you going, fiber to help fill you up and help keep your heart healthy. super people eat super grains.
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new york police tell cnn a plan confessed and is being charged in connection with five molotov cocktail attacks over the weekend that targets included an islamic center, hindu place of worship and a deli. the man told them they had a gripe with someone at each of the locations. take a look at this. a news helicopter from cnn affiliate kotv covering a fire in oklahoma when the cameraman spotted a guy running to a pickup truck. the man and his companions wearing camouflage, had guns and seemed suspicious. the chopper relaid the location to the sheriff's department. the men said they were hunting and set the fire to tree a bobcat. one was arrested. if the chopper hadn't been there the fire could have spread out of control. this is pretty wild. who says social media isn't good for your health? you can't say that anymore apparently. damon brown of seattle, washington, he needed a kidney replacement surgery. he created a page on facebook
and before long his site had more than 1400 friends and a potential donor. john, it was a family friend, someone that they had known for years and now he can apparently say he found his kidney on facebook. pretty wild. >> that's fabulous. this is the way to bring people together as friends and help other people out. that's great. >> amazing. >> kate, ever wanted to stand up at the oscars or the emmys and be the person who opens the envelope and give the prize? >> how did you know that's been my dream. what do you mean? tell me. >> i'll have you join us later today. we have a secret envelope, given us to by the governor of iowa, two months ago. terry brand stat made a prediction, who will win tonight. we'll show you late in the program. kate will come back and help me out. we'll see you then. >> republican game tonight. president obama's not sitting out iowa caucuses. how he's trying to grab a bit of the spotlight. this new at&t 4g lte is fast.
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just over 90 minutes, live pictures des moines, iowa, to start of iowa's caucuses. stay right here on cnn and watch this play out. here's tonight's truth. the most important thing, isn't who wins. stay with us for the one thing you really need to pay attention to tonight. plus, herman cain's out of the race but still watching very closely. we'll ask him if he's ready to make an endorsement. back in november, iowa's governor wrote down this prediction of tonight's winner.
he sealed it in an envelope exclusively for us. tonight we'll open it. as iowa republicans head out to vote tonight, all eyes on mitt romney, including a set of eyes at the white house. president obama's back from vacation and will address tonight's democratic caucuses on a video hookup to iowa. let's check in with jessica yellin. jess, the president doesn't have an opponent, why does he think it's important to check in in iowa? >> reporter: well, in general, for the obama campaign, there's a sense that if mitt romney wins tonight they'll be curious to see by how much, john. the sources i talk to believe that mitt romney will be the eventual nominee, that's no secret. but what they want to know is, can he really deliver some kind of knockout punch tonight because he has invested a great deal of time -- not a great deal of time but a great deal of
money here. he is the establishment candidate, if you will. he has said, and then walked back, that he believes he could win here. they clearly dedicated a commitment to iowa. and the obama team will be curious to see if he can capture a significant amount of the vote. and if he doesn't, no doubt expect them to say that this is a major loss for mitt romney, john. >> if you're president obama or political team, jess, what's their dream outcome for iowa tonight? >> reporter: i'd say that the dream outcome would be for somebody like a rick santorum to win because he is -- or somebody who is among the more conservative candidates and that's because it would in theory force mitt romney further to the right and if mitt romney given what i said before, that they expect romney will be the eventual nominee if romney has to run further to the right in
the primary the assumption is if he becomes nominee in the general election he'll have to run to the center and defend all of those more conservative positions he has taken during this -- during the primary. plus, it will just create a protracted primary which is always better for an incumbent president, if he doesn't have to slog it out for all of the monthser all the better to watch all of the republicans slug it out, john. >> president would like to watch that. jessica yellin, thanks. it's a long way from tonight's caucuses to the general election. that's november 6th. and even farther now from the republicans' blowout election in 2010. still republican party chairman reince priebus hoping for a clean sweep. the chairman is with us from washington tonight. mr. chairman, let's me bait you first. i have in this envelope a secret prediction from governor branstad. what's yours? who is going to win? >> it's a good one, john.
look, i think that the american people are going to win tonight because it's the green flag of this race is going down and we're busy at the republican national committee pointing out the fact that starting today with the release of a new ad that the president's given us so much material and so many speeches and so much hot air coming out of his mouth, he's given us so much material we've got videos coming out every couple days of what he promises the american people four years ago, three years ago, and what he delivered. using his words, the standard that he set for himself and that's the job that we have, the job we have here at the rnc is to put an army on the ground, to put the grassroots on the ground, we've got a new mobile application that anyone can get to. you can get the results of tonight's primary election in real time as we get them, if you text the word results to 91919, and you'll get that. i'm excited for a lot of different reasons and that's
because we've got a job to do in making sure we make barack obama a one-term president starting tonight. >> starting tonight, that's your case. starting tonight you get to see how your race plays out. there's an app for this. sometimes things get nasty after the first race, people on the edge of falling out of the race, sometimes they get more nasty and sometimes it's the chairman of the party's job to step in and referee. where do you draw the line? say mitt romney has a strong iowa showing, a win orring strong second and wins new hampshire. do you pick up the phone and say back off, this guy's the prohibitive favorite, probably our nominee, go easy? >> well, no. certainly not at that point. you know i don't know what that point is other than the fact that i will tell you that i really -- i don't really see a scenario where the rnc chairman starts getting involved with all of these candidates and starts telling them what they should do or shouldn't do. i think what the reality is, though, is that primaries are
good for our party. i happen to believe that, john. it's not something -- >> do you want a long contest? obama benefitted from the long race with clinton. >> honestly, i really don't care either way. obviously, i don't see it as a hindrance if it does go on for some time. i think it is a good thing. you you look at governors across the midwest who won in 2010, not a single one came through a cake walk in their own party and they won in blue states. i don't buy this idea that tough primaries are any sort of dramas a bad thing. i think it's a good thing. it's everyone talking. you're all talking about. all of the other channels are talking about it. i think it's good for the party and good for our chances to defeat barack obama. >> you used the word drama. one of the dramas in the campaign, first trump was going to run as a republican. now he said nobody would come to his debate because he hasn't rules out running as an
independent. wha wh what's your message to trump or ron paul, who says probably not but hasn't said definitely not when it comes to running as a third party candidate if he doesn't get the nomination? >> first, i don't think ron paul does such a thing. i really don't believe that for a second. as far as donald trump is concerned, a like hem a whole lot but if he did run he would take more votes away from barack obama, if not i think probably 50/50 split at worse. but so i don't get into that. right now, my job is to put a ground game out there in places like iowa and ohio and virginia and across battle ground states, raise a ton of money to defeat the campaigner in chief and connect the dots for the american people when it comes to giving them a choice to a president who loves giving speeches and didn't deliver and someone that we can say, look, this person is going to help save the country economically
from a president who didn't deliver. it's the fundamentals, it's the ground game, that's what we do at the republican national committee. >> we get our first test tonight of intensity in the republican party. chairman, we'll talk to you in months ahead. beale s we'll see if you have to play more elbow. >> happy new year. >> happy new year to you, sir? tonight's truth maps out the biggest test for republicans tonight. now that some time has passed, herman cain responds to the allegations that derailed his presidential campaign. >> yes, i feel burned. those accusations were baseless. welcome to idaho, where they grow america's favorite potatoes. everyone knows idaho potatoes taste great. but did you know they're good for you too? they're high in vitamins and potassium. and idaho potatoes are now certified to carry the heart checkmark from the american heart association for foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol. so they're good for my family, and for yours.
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tonight's vote in iowa the first official test of campaign 2012. and as such, it is vitally important. here's tonight's truth. who votes tonight is just as important. perhaps even more important than who wins. why? well, consider our volatile recent political history, a country evenly divided, passion, intensity is critical, the critical ingredient to victory. 2006, a vague democratic wave year powered by opposition to the iraq war and high post katrina disapproval for bush. 2008, everywhere you traveled you could see and fl the intensity gap, democrats eager to vote. republicans not so much. 2010, the tea party surprise and the republican resurgence, intensity gap favors the right
in that election big time. what will it be for 2012? which party will the advantage of intensity? our first clue in little more than an hour. 118,000 republicans voted in the gop caucuses in 2008. if that number is flat or down tonight, well consider that an early victory for president obama. iowa has just four electoral college votes but it's a classic swing state, voting republican seven times, democratic six times in the past 13 presidential elections. we're about to find out if the gop has a serious chance to contest iowa next november. about to find out if republicans begin this critical year with the intensity it will take to defeat a vulnerable but formidable incumbent. it's not just the overall turnout number. the republican coalition, it's complicates. tea party voters and evangelicals often have issues with the republican establishment. but if they are not all excited, intense, from the get-go this year, it it will make president obama's path to re-election easier. so, yes, iowa tonight begins the
process of narrowing the republican field. and that's important. but truth is, in the long run, what we learn over the next fur hours about gop intensity or lack therefore could well be the night's most important lesson. james carville, dana loesch, ari fleischer to set the stage for the big vote. you're a product of the tea party movement. is the tea party movement as excited, as energized this year as it was in 2010? >> you're shaking you're head already. already people in camp obama say good. >> i think -- it depends how you look at it. tea partiers from everyone that i've heard and of course there are so many different groups, so every different group has a different opinion. tea partiers are more concerned with beating the white house incumbent. they're more concern with beating obama than excited about a single candidate in the gop field. so that's what we're seeing. >> what is your biggest question about the intensity gap and whether the republican coalition
will come together in the right way? >> well, i don't think there's a problem on the republican side with intensity. my big worry the democrats come home. the democrats are not satisfied with obama, he's let us down, he's not the great hope and change he was, all of a sudden come october, they start to realize we could lose the white house, they come home. that's what i think is the issue. i think republicans, plenty energized to get barack obama out of there. >> as one of the few guy left alive who has run a successful democratic presidential campaign, when you look at this early on, you're the incumbent, you ran in 1996, an easier race than president obama will have than clinton. what do we have to worry about november? >> i think the -- what david, ale rod, they want this thing to continue and every day that goes on, the more that they're out there, the more stressed they are so say things and you catalog gingrich,
calling romney a liar and all of this stuff like that, so i think the friend of the democrats is we want this thing continue. >> speaker gingrich said i'm mr. positive, we're going have an experiment, prove the voters reward the nice guy. history says that doesn't work. newt gingrich has a past and he's a smart guy and if he goes overly negative that caustic newt is back. listen to this. >> you called romney as a lie. >> i was asked if i think he's a liar and i said yes. >> why do you feel that? >> le doesn't tell the truth. >> if this gets nasty out of here, newt is wounded, he was at top of the pac, a romney political action committee, not the romney campaign but they beat him up pretty good. ron paul beat him up pretty good. we move to new hampshire you have gingrich saying i'm going to rip romney's skin off. >> i don't think anybody's
crossed any lines left. it's the last day of a hot political campaign. they're not exactly beating each other up the way the business used to be. having said that, if i'm mitt romney, i'm ducking tomorrow. because they have to get after romney. romney's divide and conquer strategy is working and only way the republicans will take him down is to eliminate the case he's not the conservative you think he is and that's going to have to be a powerful, condensed rhetorical case. >> the question, the singular question of the republican race is who emerges as the conservative al continuative to romney. is santorum a viable, lasting, 10, 12, 15-state alternative to romney? >> i don't think he is. personally, i don't think so. >> who is? >> he's one of the reasons -- one of the candidates that conservatives voted out in 2006, because he embodied everything, the big republican establishment stuff with the no child left behind and everything else. >> prefer romney to santorum? >> no. >> what are you going to do? >> i don't know.
that's -- that's a predicament i'm in. >> romney's dream come true. >> but there are -- >> you've got to learn. you're supposed to fake it. >> i did. that's why i'll never have a career in politics. >> you can't fake it. >> another big question tonight is how well does ron paul do? i don't think anybody at the table thinks he can be the republican nominee but he can be your party's jesse jackson. it's not winner takes all. i want you to listen to ron paul, one of his big things he has an older libertarian base but young people love him, why? >> our campaign has been known to being a great appeal to the young people and a lot of times people ask me that. i don't know the exact reason for it. but for one thing i do talk to a lot of young people. i ask them why are you enthusiastic about the campaign. one of the most common answers that i get is that i endorse the constitution and defend the constitution constantly in washington and that's very
appealing to young people. >> are we going to be at the convention in tampa, ron paul's going to have enough delegates to say i want speaking time? >> maybe. doesn't matter that much in the bigger scheme of things. he may deserve it, depending on how many delegates he gets. in the end, iowa is ron paul's high water mark. it's downhill from here for ron paul. >> impact player? >> could be. remember pat buchanan speech at '92? that was -- it wasn't a huge difference but soon let him go. he's going to make -- he has some impact somewhere. >> james, ari, dana. heading out to caucus. the man who made 9-9-9 his calling card gives us his take on the night ahead. the envelope, please. a cnn and john king usa exclusive. the iowa's governor's prediction for tonight's caucuses. okay... is this where we're at now, we just eat whatever tastes good? like these sweet honey clusters...
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will make their pitch and we'll have a vote. if mitt romney has a strong showing and wins new hampshire he will be the prohibitive favorite to win the nominee. is that good or bad? >> i don't think that's necessarily the right conclusion. our and new hampshire will certainly narrow the field. remember, back in 2008, john, mitt romney had trouble in the south. i think that it is still a question as to how well he will do in the south. if you just look at some of the polls by state that have been taken over the past couple months. >> a herman cain endorsement would help in the south. if he came by iowa and new hampshire as the winner, would you stand by him in south carolina? >> not exactly, john. here is why. you see, my mission is to help get the republican nominee elected president. in order to do that, i don't want to fragment my supporters. they've already made up their mind, many of them, who they want to support. if i were to endorse, it could
fragment my base as well as people that consider themselves politically homeless, and my role in the coming months will be to try and help keep voters informed, involved and inspired because the last thing that i want to see is for people to lose interest in this campaign and staying home would be a vote for barack obama. so i'm on a different mission now. >> i want to talk more about your role looking forward in a moment. i want to ask, as we wait to count the first official votes of campaign 2012, a process you were so deeply involved in, do you feel at all burned? >> yes, i feel burned. the reason is, because as you indicated at the top of the show, those accusations were baseless, but unfortunately, some people in the media were going to continue to spin them and it distracted me and my campaign from talking about what i care most about, solutions.
that's what this should be about, much of the negative campaigning going on by the republicans i think has been damaging to the republican party. one of the reasons i'm going to be announcing my new initiative is i want to get the american public, especially the conservative voters focused back on the solutions to problems that we ought to be talking about, not just all of the negative attacks. >> tell me a bit more about what you plan. you want to start a new movement, a new initiative to keep your voters engaged, focus on the substance f. you need a new movement, a new initiative, doesn't that in some say mean you believe the republican party is failing us? >> i believe the republican party is not focused enough. i don't believe that they're failing. they're not focused enough, and it takes the candidates to talk about specific solutions. that's where i believe that the republican candidates have, quite frankly, not been aggressive enough. >> is the inevitable conclusion of this new movement at some
point herman cain on another ballot, maybe running for senate, maybe running for governor? >> senate, no. governor, no. the probability of running for president again, that's probably a no, too. remember, john, i have a biological clock like everybody else. i made a promise to myself. i'm only going to work nine more years. i doubt if you might see that. there are other things i'm looking at doing that you would be interested about. i don't have immediate plans for running for anything. but never say never. >> in a conversation with my colleague piers morgan, you said if a republican win it is white house, you have a dream job. let's listen. >> the job i would most like would be secretary of defense. the reason i would say i want to be secretary of defense is not that you want to be a defense expert. it's that i would want to be in a position to try to influence the president on one of our most critical crises, and that's our national security crisis.
>> you once worked for the navy, sir, as a ballistics analyst, i believe, was the job and ran a food service industry, ceo of a pizza chain. do you think you're qualified to be defense secretary? >> how do you define qualified? one thing people didn't talk about when i was a candidate, i served as advisory board member for strategic air command when i was in omaha, nebraska. i believe the defense department. needs strong leadership more than they need someone who might be a defense expert just as i believe that's what's needed in every one of the cabinet positions. >> let me ask you lastly, sir. many people will watch tonight and some across the country will ask why is iowa first, 81% wide in the middle of the country, no big urban areas, suburban areas, not as diverse as other parts of the country, why does it get to go first? should it? >> it's more tradition than anything else. but the biggest role that iowa plays as well as new hampshire
is that it should help to narrow down the field. i think that that is a good thing, because when you narrow down the field, you then give the later primaries an opportunity to take a look at the candidates a lot closer because hopefully you'll be dealing with a much smaller number. now, the downside is, because new hampshire is only a week after iowa, some of the candidates that might be marginal at this point, they might just try to hang on. i don't know. >> we'll keep in touch in the weeks and months ahead as herman cain plots his next move. appreciate your time as we prepare to watch iowa caucuses get off and count the folks. >> thanks, john. >> thank you. kate bolduan back with us to help close the hour as we do every night with a moment you might have missed. tonight is a "can't miss" exclusive, a prediction from iowa's back republican. back when we interviewed governor terry bran stead, we're asking him to secretly share his prediction for tonight's big winner.
he sealed it in that envelope and we promised not to open it until tonight. here is the envelope. the voting is about to take place. are you ready, kate? >> i never thought we would be hosting an awards show together. >> the nominees are bachmann, santorum, paul, romney. i'll open the envelope. the governor is a good sport. he trusted us to do this. drum roll and everything. i have no idea what is on this piece of paper. not at all. >> wow. okay, governor bran stead predicts mitt romney, predicting back in november, the former massachusetts governor mitt romney so disappointed in iowa that he would be the big winner tonight? what do you think? he's playing where a lot of people think the favorite is. we'll never know until the last vote is cast. that's the beauty of this whole thing. >> governor terry bran stead,